Our Projects


Youth initiatives: co-design at za'atari

A Syrian teen poses with the drawing she created during a workshop at Za'atari in January 2015.

A Syrian teen poses with the drawing she created during a workshop at Za'atari in January 2015.

Since January 2015, we’ve been working with Za’atari youth to understand their information worlds and build capacity through participatory design, technology, libraries and of course, fun! All revolve around education, stories, and futures. Here is some of our unfolding work. 

Youth ICT Wayfarers: Narrative Drawings  How youth help others as information brokers (information, communication and technology wayfarers) was the focus of our first round of participatory design workshops at Za’atari in January 2015. Participants drew pictures of a recent time when they helped someone using information and technology, and included brief explanations of their drawings. Forty eight youth participated in two-hour sessions at three NGO centers, drawing a range of scenes from their lives in Syria and at Za’atari. Learn More.

Al Osool: Za'atari Community Engagement

Photo courtesy of Brian Tomaszewski 

Photo courtesy of Brian Tomaszewski 

We are working with colleagues at Penn State University and the Rochester Institute of Technology to create an information-enabled community engagement system at Za'atari. Community engagement is a critical element of sustainable protection, whereby interpersonal connections and community skills and assets play a crucial role in problem solving. Community-driven solutions are often more sustainable for their inherent ownership by community stakeholders. Community knowledge, information literacy and facilitation skills, and opportunities enable people to participate and achieve common goals. Successful community engagement requires robust information flows that help in identifying problems, understanding where, when and how community capacities and assets might be used in problem-solving, and enabling analyses and follow-up to ensure positive outcomes and account ability. Learn More.

Work in the EU: Migrants' information needs

Photo courtesy of Maren Borkert

Photo courtesy of Maren Borkert

The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that more than 1 million people have fled to Europe by 2016.  Partnering with researchers across the globe, we work with Arab migrants focusing on migrants’ information needs and information seeking at varied stages, with emphasis on mis- and dis-information. We also aim to explore the economic impacts of the migration in Europe. Learn More.

InfoMe: Immigrant and Refugee Youth as Information Mediaries

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InfoMe is a research program that explores and facilitates how youth help other people with everyday life situations through information and technology. This project grew from a nationwide survey, funded by the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which showed that two out of three people used library computers on behalf of someone else. We call these users Information Mediaries (InfoMes), or information guides. They tend to be young, non-white, non-native English speakers, suggesting ethnic minority youth are key to understanding the information needs of their communities, passing on needed information to otherwise hidden users (especially non-English speaking, non-library users), and identifying the greater range of how libraries help.  This finding — meaningful in the U.S. immigration context where one in nine people are foreign born — also holds global importance as we face a worldwide migration crisis. Learn More.